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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Drinks and Food Don the Beachcomber's problems????
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Don the Beachcomber's problems????
Bongo Bungalow
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Joined: Aug 20, 2007
Posts: 1275
From: Indiana
Posted: 2012-03-02 02:32 am   Permalink

Seems like when it come to food and drink quality we may have different expectations. This is likely true of type of service individuals appreciate as well. When we evaluate decor and ambiance, as tiki-philes, maybe we are more likely on the same page. "How was the tiki decor on your last visit? How did it compare to other tiki locations?"


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artsnyder
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jan 20, 2009
Posts: 31
From: Los Angeles/Las Vegas
Posted: 2012-03-04 10:49 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2012-02-29 00:06, Chuck Tatum is Tiki wrote:
There is no place like Don's around here anymore, It is the only place that makes me think I have gone back in time to the Tiki Palaces
of my youth, But they did hire alot of new bartenders, who may not make the best cocktails, Yet the place still has all the magic
that is Don's, So don't let that sway you from visiting.




There is something unique about a Don the Beachcomber bartender--to make Don's drinks you really don't need to have a bit of creativity. Only the intelligence and recall that would be necessary for a server at "21 Flavors." You understand that Donn, the most brilliant of mixologists, expressed his "Rum Rhapsodies" in the most specific of formulas, so that those who finally constructed them would have to do nothing but use the right glass, scoop up the ice to fill THAT glass, pour in rum of the brand dictated in the amouts dictated, pour it in a malt can, give it a number of seconds on a malt mixer, put it back in the glass, add the foilage and trinkets that he dictated be part of it, and put it down on one of his bar coasters in front of the customer. Unless the bartender couln'd read the labels, he could not make a bad Vicious Virgin. The biggest problem we have with new bartenders we have is to convince them that, concerning Don's drinks, you were not doing yourself or your friendly customer a favor by putting too much of the expensive rum in his drink. If you did, he would find a very different drink in his hands.
Yes, we have had a change in bar personnel since our first hiring. For better or worse, those who will simply NOT make a Zombie the way that Don did when he invented it in 1931 in "Ernie's Place", the Speakeasy he operated on McCadden Place before repeal--with or without the absinthe that he always used then.
But that is not to say that we don't hire experienced bartenders. We do, because there's a lot to being a bartender besides mixing Don's drinks. We insist that our bartenders are likeable folks, who enjoy dispensing that substance that warms the heart, can make a good Martini in the traditional way, and who finds it a pleasant occupation in which to make friends, relieve anxiety, and continue in his relations with our customers the fantasy that is and always has been Don the Beachcomber.


 
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artsnyder
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jan 20, 2009
Posts: 31
From: Los Angeles/Las Vegas
Posted: 2012-03-05 12:10 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2012-03-04 22:49, artsnyder wrote:
Quote:

On 2012-02-29 00:06, Chuck Tatum is Tiki wrote:
There is no place like Don's around here anymore, It is the only place that makes me think I have gone back in time to the Tiki Palaces
of my youth, But they did hire lot of new bartenders, who may not make the best cocktails, Yet the place still has all the magic
that is Don's, So don't let that sway you from visiting.




There is something unique about a Don the Beachcomber bartender--to make Don's drinks you really don't need to have a bit of creativity. Only the intelligence and recall that would be necessary for a server at "21 Flavors." You understand that Donn, the most brilliant of mixologists, expressed his "Rhum Rapsodies" in the most specific of formulas, so that those who finally constructed them would have to do nothing but use the right glass, scoop up the ice to fill THAT glass, pour in rum of the brand dictated in the amounts dictated, add 2 0r 3 ounces of its "flavor mix," pour it in a malt can, give it a number of seconds on a malt mixer, put it back in the glass, add the foilage and trinkets that he dictated be part of it, and put it down on one of his bar coasters in front of the customer.
The Flavor Mix is where the flavor lies. Don made it himself in a narrow room behind
the bar. Delia, my wife of 35 years, compounds it in the back of our kitchen, with a huge, walk-in reefer that holds the fruit, the fresh juice and the various contents of 20 of Don's "Rhum Rapsodies. A huge task for Delia, who may make 20 gallons of mix or more every day, and is also our Executive Chef. And also serves the critical role of the most important person ever in my life, my queen, and my love. Oops--Off the track for a moment. She has all of Don's drinks memorized, and measures the ingredients (16 ingredients in the Mai-Tai, by the way.) All her notes are entered in a little book in Chinese shorthand.
Unless the bartender can't or won't read the labels, he could not make a bad Vicious Virgin. The biggest problem we have with new bartenders (to us) is to convince them that, concerning Don's drinks, you were not doing yourself or your friendly customer a favor by putting too much of the expensive rum in his drink. If you did, he would find a very different drink in his hands than Don designed.
Yes, we have had a change in bar personnel since our first hiring. For better or worse, those who will simply NOT make a Zombie the way that Don did when he invented it in 1931 in "Ernie's Place", the Speakeasy he operated on McCadden Place before repeal--with or without the absinthe that he always used then.
But that is not to say that we don't hire experienced bartenders. We do, because there's a lot to being a bartender besides mixing Don's drinks. We insist that our bartenders are likeable folks, who enjoy dispensing that substance that warms the heart, can make a good Martini in the traditional way, and who finds it a pleasant occupation in which to make friends, relieve anxiety, and continue in his relations with our customers the fantasy that is and always has been Don the Beachcomber.



[ This Message was edited by: artsnyder 2012-03-05 00:12 ]

[ This Message was edited by: artsnyder 2012-03-05 00:21 ]


 
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Atomic Tiki Punk
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Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 6251
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2012-03-05 05:50 am   Permalink

Thanks Art! you are the Man.
Great event Sunday.


 
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lucas vigor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2012-03-05 07:28 am   Permalink

And Art, your bartenders are WAY friendlier then the people who worked there before you took over!
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Tai-Pan
Member

Joined: Oct 18, 2011
Posts: 9
From: Santa Cruz, CA
Posted: 2012-03-05 12:22 pm   Permalink

I visited the Dagger Bar for the first time this past Friday. I enjoyed it and I will return.

We got there around 5:30 and left around 8. We had two waitresses while we were there. Both were friendly and helpful. My companion isn't much of a tikiphile, and needed some help from the staff when deciding on a drink. They both steered her to drinks that she ended up liking. She's now pro-tiki.

The only issue that I have is with the big flat-screens in the bar that had basketball playing on them (the sound of the TV's was either off or so low that I couldn't hear it, so that's a plus). But the Exotica soundtrack was spot-on, and the TV's weren't really that bad.

We had a great experience. If I lived in the area, I would gladly go there fairly often.


 
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mrsmiley
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 3174
From: Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 2012-03-11 12:29 pm   Permalink

Hi, I didn't read the whole thread because it is too much! But, I wanted to add my own comments. First, Inky and I had a proper dinner and an event buffet here in the past. The proper dinner was in the dining room , late in the evening during a BIG event. The staff were a little tired from all the guests and you know what!?!? Our service was GOOD and the food even better-it was great! I was pleased as punch! THE Even Buffet food I had was good. But, one should never compare buffet food with a just cooked meal.
Drinks under the Don's name have always been good the times we went.
NOW onto Yelp, and other online review sites. They can be fairly good tools to find out what the average person thinks about a place. But, the average person does not always have the proper knowledge, taste buds , etc to be a REAL food / beverage critic. NOW, when it comes to a vintage theme / fantasy restaurant like a Tiki place, a vintage Establishment or a place like Casa Bonita in Denver, things are different. It is NOT an Average establishment-much more is going on, and much more will be lost if the place closes! Hopefully one will be happy with what you get, but publicly complaining (as opposed to contacting the management) can hurt the business because you will have to come back again to review it to see if improvements were made so you can alter your review. How many of you would remember to do that? Plus- real critics often visit a place approx. 3 times at various times of the day to make sure the experience (whether good or bad) thay had normal, or a rare occurence. The average Yelper will Yelp after one visit because...they are not paid to return like a Real (paid) critic!
We held back on saying bad things about Trader Vic's in Vegas because (at the time) it was the only "good" tiki establishment in town. I DID complain to a person friend in Corporate (they hated what was happening-but didn't have control). In retrospect, I SHOULD have contacted the Vegas management.
So to the original Author of this thread, I say do, have a good time and ENJOY yourself! And if you love it YELP it !
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Big Kahuna
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Joined: Apr 11, 2007
Posts: 2355
From: SoMass
Posted: 2012-03-11 1:31 pm   Permalink

First of all, I don't understand why any Tikiphile would start a thread like this on TC. If you'd spent any time at all researchng on TC, you'd know what Don's is all about & you wouldn't have started this useless thread. I was in SoCal twice, last year, & was fortunate enough to visit Don's both times. The first time out, I popped in on a Monday night to hang with the TC regulars. Food & drinks were both very good, I got to hang out with some great people & Art actually took the time to come over & introduce himself to this wide-eyed goober from Boston. On my second trip, I had the amazing good fortune of being there for the return of The Tikiyaki Orchestra with Marina The Fire-Eating Mermaid. If that wasn't enough, The Hula Girls were playing in the Dagger Bar! Again, the food & drink were very good & the experience fantastic! Don's is a first-class operation & Art is a first-class guy. I will never go to California without going to Don's. If you're looking for a sure-thing meal, just go to Olive Garden. You'll get the exact same pseudo-Italian meal in California as you would in Ohio.

 
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JOHN-O
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Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2694
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2012-03-11 2:08 pm   Permalink



 
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telescopes
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 06, 2007
Posts: 569
From: Palm Springs
Posted: 2012-03-11 7:03 pm   Permalink



[ This Message was edited by: telescopes 2012-03-13 08:24 ]


 
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telescopes
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 06, 2007
Posts: 569
From: Palm Springs
Posted: 2012-03-11 7:06 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2012-03-11 14:08, JOHN-O wrote:






[ This Message was edited by: telescopes 2012-03-13 08:22 ]


 
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telescopes
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 06, 2007
Posts: 569
From: Palm Springs
Posted: 2012-03-13 08:22 am   Permalink

I had the joy of going to the Beachcomber last night and meeting up with the TC crowd. I arrived at 4:30 and stayed to 8 so I felt I was able to really catch the vibe and see for myself if the crew was up to snuff.

When I arrived, I ordered a rum barrel from a male bartender. I requested that it be nicely made. He looked at me somewhat strange and quickly made the rum barrel. I noticed that the rums weren't premium per se, but I can report that the rum barrel tasted like a rum barrel. No complaints on the drink. It was as expected.

We spoke for awhile and I asked him about quality concerns. He seemed confused and unaware that there were problems. The conversation then went to the female bartender who seemed confused at first, but then fest up that she was indeed aware that there were some concerns about the drink quality. She reiterated the same message that Art did about how the mixes are made in the back and that it should be almost impossible to mess up the drink. That is of course, if they follow the order, which some of the new bartenders may not have done.

After an hour, I ordered the Zombie from the male bartender. I asked if he had absinthe and he said that he did. I asked specifically for absinthe and asked what brand he used. He pulled out a bottle of "Pernod" which he pronounced Per-nod. He then free poured it onto the top of my drink and proudly exclaimed, there, that looks like four drops.

I laughed and said, "Well, getting that 1/8 oz isn't always easy. A little goes a long way." To which he replied, "They have an eye dropper behind the bar that were suppose to use."

Okay, he knows the rules.

Now let me say here, the Zombie tasted like a spot on Zombie. Beachbum Berry would have enjoyed it. Hell, it tasted like a zombie.

My third drink that night was the Mai Tai. For the record, it tasted like a Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai.

All in all, the drinks were worth the 250 mile round trip.

Now, as to the food. I ordered various foods throughout the night. The pork sliders, sticky ribs, and the sweet potato fries all were very tasty and well worth the price. In fact, they were keeping with the legend that is Don the Beachcomber.

To those who are worried that there might be problems, my suggestion is to let the bar crew know that you care about drink quality. It is obvious that they have a diverse cliental and the bar crew does not serve DTB drinks to most people. As I watched what people were drinking, it became very clear that most people just went a beer or something similar to what you might find at other bars. But the vibe that is DTB, the foods offered and the drink selection is clearly a California treasure. If you are in the area, you definitely want to come by and support this place - not like you might a homeless vagrant by offering him a dollar because you feel sorry for him, but because you are going to get a quality of product wrapped in a package that you simply won't get anywhere else.

And to all the TCers last night, I enjoyed spending time with you and catching up on all of the latest. What a great way to spend a birthday.


 
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Luckydesigns
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 15, 2002
Posts: 2201
From: Costa Mesa
Posted: 2012-03-13 09:42 am   Permalink

I went by last night as well. Although The Hula Girls play there all of the time, it hasn't been very recent where I've really gotten to enjoy a cocktail. I stay on the beer program so that I don't get too 'drunk' while we are playing.

The cocktails last night tasted great!! A better mai tai than you will find anywhere in Orange County. I also had the sticky ribs and pork sliders. Both tasted great!

It could be great if they offered a 'premium mai tai' too. With Appleton Estate and/ or other premium rums for an elevated price point.

But all in all, no problems at Don's. It's my absolute favorite place to be.
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11244
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2012-03-13 12:37 pm   Permalink

These are all very nice and well-meant reports, folks. Curiously, John-O and I seem to be the only ones that think that bringing this negative thread headline back up to the TOP of the GENERAL TIKI section (for a thread that should have been in "Tiki Drinks and Food" to begin with!) does DB more disservice than any honest, well-meant appreciative post IN the thread can ever do. Am I being unreasonable in seeing it that way?

And no, do NOT answer this question, everybody PLEASE just zip it, stay away, and let this thread sink to where it belongs: the bottom. (And I am only writing this because it's been sitting on top now all day already, so I am not contributing to it.)

This is what John-O was trying to convey with his post:
Quote:

On 2012-03-11 14:08, JOHN-O wrote:




 
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forgotten tikiman
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 18, 2011
Posts: 484
From: Forgotten Tiki Room. Pismo Beach, CA
Posted: 2012-03-22 8:38 pm   Permalink

Dons was my first genuine tiki bar experience. The first tiki bar I have ever been to when I first started really getting into tiki. I will never forget that. My buddy Tyler took me there and I had a mai tai, rum barrel, and dr funk follwed by their pineapple upside down cake which is amazing. The glasgow tiki shakers were playing and it was just an awesome experience. It was great to soak all that in.

 
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